Resource, revenue sharing bill opposed

  • Cutting across party lines, lawmakers condemn bills on centre-state ties

Kathmandu, July 12

Ruling and opposition parties’ lawmakers today opposed the bills related to distribution of natural resources and revenue between the central, provincial and local governments.

Taking part in the debate on Local Governance Bill, Inter-government Financial Management Bill and Bill on the Distribution of National Natural Resources and Finance Commission in the House today, CPN-Maoist Centre lawmaker Janak Raj Joshi said the bills hinted that the power vested in ministries sitting in Singha Durbar was unlikely to be shifted to villages.

Discussing the Bill on the Distribution of National Natural Resources and Finance Commission, lawmaker Janak Raj Joshi said the bill was intended to weaken the local levels.

The bill proposes to distribute 78 per cent of revenue to the central government, seven per cent to provincial governments and 15 per cent to local governments.

Joshi said the bill proposed to give very little to local levels and that could make them fully dependent on the central government.

CPN-UML lawmaker Purushottam Paudel said provisions in the three bills would dilute the powers that the constitution had given to local and provincial governments.

He added that the local levels were being compelled to spend 40 per cent of the resources for management of their offices and that would adversely affect their development programmes.

Nepali Congress lawmaker Bharat Bahadur Khadka said local levels should not be made over-dependent on the assistance given by the centre. “Rather, we have to make local levels independent by enhancing their capacity to identify their own resources” he added. He also opined that the local levels should share 50 per cent of the revenue. Rastriya Janata Party-Nepal lawmaker Narsingh Chaudhary said the bills proposed to give more powers to the central government which was against the spirit of federalism.

Lawmakers Rambir Manandhar, Meena Pun, Dilli Prasad Kafle, Mahendra Shahi and Rameshwar Phunyal added that the bills’ provisions were against the spirit of federalism, as they intended to dilute powers given to provinces and local levels.

They also criticised the government for registering the bills in the House after two phases of local elections. They said the bills exposed the central government’s intention to dictate to local governments.

Responding to lawmakers’ queries on the Local Governance Bill, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Federal Affairs and Local Development Bijaya Kumar Gachhadar said the local levels would get self-governing powers after the bill was passed. He added that the centre would use provinces’ power only till the provincial elections.

He added that certain provisions of the bills would be amended after the debate.

Addressing lawmakers’ concerns about the Inter-governmental Financial Management Bill and the Bill on the Distribution of National Natural Resources and Finance Commission, Minister of Finance Gyanendra Bahadur Karki said the Finance Commission would distribute resources to all levels of governments in a proportionate, justified and transparent manner.